July 26, 2019 Product

Setting the wheel in motion.

Guest post from PeoplePlus Australia.

When it comes to starting a business, success comes from passion. For Jason, a former school teacher of 17 years, pottery was always more than just a hobby that he had wanted to utilise into something more.

He decided that it was time to take a new direction in his career. In a leap of faith, he switched over to the other side of the classroom to further enhance his technical and creative skills, and successfully completed a Master’s Degree in Visual Arts which set the wheel in motion.

Jason was also working part-time and required further support to secure sustainable employment, when he was referred to PeoplePlus in Bendigo. He then heard about New Business Assistance with NEIS through a friend, who suggested he find out more about the program that could potentially work in his favour.

PeoplePlus delivers services for New Business Assistance with NEIS across the Bendigo area, providing individualised help for job seekers to become self-employed business owners. The team also assess business ideas of potential participants to make sure it is eligible and commercially viable. After an initial consultation with the experienced NEIS Coordinator Wendy at PeoplePlus, Jason enrolled in the NEIS program.

Jason completed the two-week pre-NEIS course and commenced the program in June 2018, gaining fundamental small business training, ongoing and personalised mentoring and income support, as well as a Certificate III in Micro Business Operations.

Jason said the program provided him with the perfect platform to work towards realising his business dream.

“The (NEIS) program taught me all the nuts and bolts in running a business and allowed me to take that leap and see what happens while having that safety net.”

Jason also said the marketing skills he gained throughout the program were invaluable. “You might have the best business idea in the world, but if you can’t articulate it and get it out there then it’s going to stay on the shelf,” said Jason.

J Barnes Pottery officially commenced operations in October 2018 and is a local business in every sense of the word. Much of the design inspiration behind Jason’s pottery pieces come from Bendigo’s rich mining history.

He admits that handcrafts were doing particularly well in the marketplace, and his special offering had found a niche market. He also had some hard-earned advice for those hoping to turn their hobby into a business.

“Get good advice and set yourself some clear goals. If you set clear benchmarks and goals, even if you don’t achieve them gives you something to work towards and review them regularly,” said Jason.

He also heeded the advice of his mentor throughout the program, who stressed the importance of flexibility with product options and having a back-up plan.

His philosophy was ‘do what works’.

“I also learned that you can’t be so locked into an idea where you can’t be flexible and alter it in order to make progress, which was very important for me.”

He followed through with the lesson on flexibility. While not initially part of the business plan, Jason now holds pottery classes a few days a week in Bendigo. The artist maintains a minimum of two-to-three days in the studio to remain focused on his pottery making.

You can follow more of Jason’s work on his Facebook page: J Barnes Pottery.

Do you have a great new business idea? NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat.

This story was provided by PeoplePlus Australia, dedicated to helping you find meaningful work. PeoplePlus Australia have locations all around Australia.
Photos by Journey By Light Photography.

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